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III. Militarization of the economy and science: the birthplace of the metropolitan technocracy
Militarization particularly includes corporations in technologically leading branches of production - aeronautics, electronics, nuclear technology, industrial computer and information systems, and chemistry. It quickly hastened their technical development and the growth of the organic contents of capital, which within these corporations decisively and directly influenced the birth of a modern technology of power and management and the formation of technocratic "character masks." Galbraith's picture of the concentric circles of the "techno-structure" most closely corresponds to the leading corporations in the militarized economy. For in these corporations, on the basis of a high organic content of capital, the concentration of scientific potential and educated technical personnel, as well as profits that devour a lion's share of the total surplus value, were the greatest possibilities for social integration, "indentification," and "adaptation" of a relatively broad circle of participants under the hegemony of technocratically reorganized leading groups that mediate between financial centres, state military programmed, and the resulting subsidized development of science and universities.
The complex advantage of militarized corporations has far-reaching consequences for technocratic reorganization. Only those corporations that are organized as systems for the exploitation of scientific technological resources can permanently maintain the orders of the military-repressive system and use public funds as their own. This can be carried out only by those corporations that introduce the appropriate technology of power and management and bring their managerial groups into conformity with these demands, and that construct a new symbiosis of class interests and status between owner ship and technocratic management. It is important to note that this category of corporations as well as the direct participants of the global functions of the order were enabled and, in order to carry out these functions, compelled to establish broad control over the activities of science, universities, and the entire system of education. This refers as well to control over total production and communication of scientific and other information, over the movement of intellectual potential. That is, control over broad sectors of the social system, that by this become, in fact, branches of large systems for the production of capital. Encompassing those branches? the large systems perfect and spread out their technocratic organization.
When a monopoly of state orders is permanently established, new forms are developed for accumulation and control, and when power is realized over scientific and research development potentials, the enterprises included in the military-repressive system gradually take over independent functions in this system as well. From executors and profiteers in large businesses they become the direct bearers of the development and realization of military-technically, strategically, intellectually, military-politically, and economically repressive programmes and operations. With other centres of the repressive system they decide on all that is essential for the growth and efficiency of these systems. This extends to all dimensions of the general functions of protecting the regime. Their partnership with the ruling political and military groups entrusted with the central functions of the regime is based as well on the monopoly of power and control gained over the material, scientific and technological, organizational, and personnel policies necessary for carrying out these functions.
Here we are talking about a monopoly of the modern technology of a repressive system. In the sphere of militarized corporations, a network of economic advantages is to be gained with the monopoly of this specific technology. Both instances are established along with the special support of the political system and its repressive organizations. But the creature of this system - the militarized economy - quickly becomes an independent political factor that holds technological levers of global rule and in this inserts its specific interests.
The consequences of the symbiosis between the military-repressive system and the authorized monopoly are well known with respect to the personal union and rotation of leading managerial groups on both sides, their combined influence on fiscal and economic policy in the interest of a militarized economy and global military-political strategy, and the entire political process in the metropolises. In this study, a perhaps less-noticed aspect of this especially interests us: the independent power of technocratically organized monopolies in the area of the military system and the technology of violence and death will become the general pattern for the role that the leading corporations take on with regard to all the other general functions of the order.
Militarized and soon other systematically organized large corporations as well began to utilize all elements of this model - systems analysis and strategy for solving complicated problems; monopolistic control of scientific-technological, organizational, and personnel policies; usurpation of public funds; independent power and a partnership with leading political groups and public officials; specific technocratic organization and ideology; and so on - in coping with various areas of "general social needs" and "social problems."
A monopoly of the technology of death and systematic techniques for absolute destruction should be adapted and applied as a monopoly of technical means for human survival and systematic techniques for global regulation of the social process endangered by the production of capital. We would have a solitary power over death, and to an extent survival, according to the same scheme, with the identical purpose and criterion, in the same hands, with the same ideology! The only difference is that the use of this power in the form of a monopoly of technology for destruction and death is significantly more effective than its use in the form of a monopoly of technical means for survival and relief from the global consequences of production that technocratic ideology disguises under the names of "urban chaos," crises of the megalopolis; "ecological catastrophe," "destructive demographic explosions," crises of feed sources, energy, and industrial raw materials; "collective mental disassociation," and so forth. While managers of these systems can predict with great probability and bring about certain destructive effects and massive death, their pretensions and operations in the direction of controlled survival constantly increase the global entropy of the civilization process.
In this context, the militarized apparatus of production was the first laboratory for the new scientific-systematic and technocratic form of rationality. From it all, large systems for the production of capital inherited the technique and organization, the ideology of systematic analysis, and the strategy for solving the problems of complex wholes with the goal of maximizing efficiency under increasingly more difficult conditions. From it were taken scientific methods of research and projection, the complicated use of computer technology in large management systems, and a totally hierarchically determined structure of scientific institutions under the rule of the protagonists of these goals. The militarized apparatus also yields the basic irresponsibility and superficial "political neutrality" of researchers and technical operators in the large systems with respect to the goals and consequences of their use. In these contexts, the staff of these systems took to solving the complex problems of management in technically attractive ways, regardless of the inhuman or merciless efficiency of the solutions, including psychology, sociology, and other "humanistic sciences" in the system of exploitation and force. The entire informative system, logic, language, and mentality of modern exploitation were taken on.
IV. The genesis of the "technocratic elite" in dependent societies
At this pole of the social axis of the scientific-technological monopoly, the genesis of the social figure that personifies scientific technological and total dependence on metropolitan hegemony is particularly indicative. Without going into depth on the historical background of this genesis (colonial rule, cultural repression, and so on), in the immediate past and now we find two main generators of the formation of a "technocratic elite" in dependent societies. The first consists of the formation of a local repressive apparatus, primarily military, that often carries out major police functions as well, under the influence and control of metropolitan military systems. It thus carries out perhaps the most important transfer of military technology and contributes to the formation of a specific authoritarian-technocratic ideology in the hierarchies of repressive services. This ideology postulates total repression as the condition sine qua non for the survival and development of "backward" society, and at the same time insists on taking over the economic, technological, and cultural models - derivatives of the metropolitan hegemony as instruments of survival and development whose application is ensured by total repression.
The second generator of local "technocratic elites" comprises a complex of "technical aid" projects within the framework of the global strategy of metropolitan monopolistic centres, according to their impulses and under their control. Selection, education, and specific indoctrination of technical and administrative cadres are carried out first in metropolitan educational and research factories and their branches in dependent societies, under the wing of the superficially independent foundations which sustain the international projects of "technical aid," and then within the personnel policy of the transnational corporations that raise people from the local environments to responsible managerial and technical functions in their internationally located branches or that in other ways subordinate and direct the "modernized" industrial entrepreneurs, agrarian "reformers," functionaries, and leading intellectuals from the ministries and banks, universities, and public information, cultural, and scientific institutions. The essential effect of this great factory for the almost assembly-line production of dependent and emasculated "technocratic elites" is that the material position, status, and professional success of the members of these groups imperatively depends on their conformity to the ideology of dependence and the interiorization of the intellectual, political, and ideological characteristics of this social type programmed in metropolitan laboratories for the technological, social, and cultural transformation of "developing countries."
The two above-mentioned generators of "industrial local elites" - the military and the "technical aid," personnel policy and public relations of transnational corporations - have had from the beginning similar origins and conceivably co-ordinated effects in metropolitan centres. The similarity of these origins refers to the whole linkage of the militarized economy and science with large systems for international management of the conditions of production and absorption of accumulation. However, the operative effects of these two generators remain on separate tracks up until when, in the society submitting to structural dependency, a fire of destructive economic and sociopolitical crises breaks out, burning the ruling structures. If the metropolitan hegemonies exert a decisive influence on those happenings, there follows a process of restructuring, for which is typical the association of the social and ideological creatures of both generators: a combination or symbiosis of military groups with the ideology of total repression and social groups, that is, ideological models that are the product of techno-economic and socio-cultural penetration of the transnational corporations, "technical aid," and great international projects. Such aid and projects include: "the green revolution," modernization of the exploitation of mineral and agricultural raw materials, placement of light industry and technologically dependent production of machines, co-operation in the production of nuclear energy, and so forth.
These two components - military groups and the social branches of transnational corporations - are the framework of the local social force that becomes the interested, politically and culturally conforming recipient of scientific-technological and total hegemony; between these two components there develops a symbiosis of power and interests, an osmosis of ideas, values, and orientations. The ideology of total repression unites with the ideology of technological and cultural dependency and assimilation; in this union repression gains strength as the condition of the entire dependent economic growth, technological progress, and "modernization of society," as a circle of insurmountable dependency on the import of prefabricated knowledge and technical and consumerist models is closed up by the ambitions of the protagonists of authoritarian rule.
Nuclear energy in Latin America: The Brazilian case
Luiz Pinguelli Rosa
Luiz Pinguelli Rosa
I. The Brazilian nuclear programme and the
treaty with the federal Republic of Germany
II. Perspectives on nuclear energy in Brazil
III. Nuclear energy and the prestige of national power
IV. The possibility of latin american nuclear co-operation
V. The position of brazil regarding nuclear proliferation
I. The Brazilian nuclear programme and the treaty with the federal Republic of Germany
The Brazilian nuclear programme includes the construction of eight light-water PWR-KWU reactors of 1,300 MW each by 199O, besides the 627 MW Westinghouse reactor in final stage of construction, and the establishment of nuclear industry in Brazil in association with West German companies. The industry includes a heavy equipment factory for reactors, already in the last stage, and the nuclear fuel enrichment and reprocessing plants, which are still in design stage. With such purposes the Nuclear Treaty with the Federal Republic of Germany was signed in 1975.
According to the originally announced conception of the Brazilian programme there would be approximately 60 reactors operating in the year 2000, totaling 75 GW of electric power. This prediction is not officially confirmed any more, and now even the Government admits that this programme was over-dimensioned.
Brazil has a hydroelectric potential of 200 GW, of which only 25 GW is presently utilized, and it is expected that 150 GW will be used by the year 2000. In spite of the great distances between many waterfalls and the big cities, it is possible to transmit the electric energy, with the final cost of the hydroelectric KW less than half that of the nuclear-KW cost. Besides, there is coal in the southern parts of the country. Therefore, nuclear energy is not yet an economic necessity to Brazil.
The question is: Why does Brazil go on with such an ambitious nuclear programme? What reasons lead developing countries to search for nuclear technology at any cost? Certainly there are reasons related to the security of the energy supply of a country in the long term, after the exhaustion of the hydroelectric potential and other sources. It is assumed that the construction of reactors would assure the possession of nuclear technology, which is necessary to a country's autonomy in the electric energy supply in the future. Other reasons are related to the myth of nuclear energy as a magic key to national progress and the allure it exerts on governments as a symbol of influence and national power.
We will try to discuss these two aspects, by analysing the Brazilian case, which is more familiar to us, thereby formulating some general conclusions. We will address ourselves to the following points:
a. Nuclear energy may be necessary to the economy of less developed countries in the future, but it requires a very delicate political appreciation and balance of the risks and benefits.
b. Nowadays the acquisition of sophisticated equipment from developed countries may not be the most appropriate way to assure control of nuclear technology in the future.
c. No matter how remote the military use could be, the prestige of the national power associated with the pacific employment of nuclear energy is undeniable. Indeed, this has been stimulated by the attitudes of the nuclear developed countries.
d. Regional co-operation among less developed countries in the execution of nuclear projects would not only increase the bargaining power of these countries in negotiations with the technology owners, but this might also avoid a foolish nuclear race. It would allow at the same time a reasonable internationalization of some stages of the nuclear industry, and a greater regional technical and economic autonomy.
e. The problem of nuclear proliferation related to armaments cannot be solved by the simple blockade of nuclear technology from less developed countries.
II. Perspectives on nuclear energy in Brazil
From the present perspective, nuclear energy will play an important role in Brazil's energy supply probably within 30 years. No matter how great the Brazilian hydroelectric potential is and no matter how modest the consumption of electricity may be, the day that this consumption will exceed that potential will come inevitably. Brazil cannot neglect nuclear technology, because it will be inevitable in the future. The idea that solar energy can be economically used to generate electricity on a large scale is improbable in the medium term. Other forms of indirect use of solar energy, such as biomass, are not appropriate to produce electricity either. Even if the use of alcohol in thermoelectric plants is possible, we cannot expect a substantial economical contribution from this mode of electricity generation.
The myth that developing countries have to concentrate on intermediate technologies that use intensive labour and little capital and apply rustic technology has its consequence on the energy field. This would imply the absolute priority of renewable sources and of the rustic ways of energy generation - as in the use of biomass, wood in particular, of biogas produced from animal wastes, of solar energy, etc. Although we do not need to stress that such alternatives can really be important in the short term in some specific cases, such as alcohol for vehicles and some applications of solar energy, we have to recognize that an efficient large-scale use of those non-conventional sources still requires time and investments in research and development in the long term.
Nevertheless, to found basically the development of the country on exotic and rustic techniques is a dangerous choice. In the energy case, this choice would imply the abandonment of important sources that could be found in the country's territory - petroleum and nuclear principally - to be used by the rich countries.
Therefore, nuclear energy may become necessary for Brazil in the future and it cannot be ignored. On the other hand, a subject that involves a delicate risk-benefit balance demands a political evaluation that transcends technical aspects. For political evaluation, the instrument is the democratic discussion, and for this political decision to be well-founded, the participation of the technical-scientific community is essential. This was not done in the case of the Nuclear Treaty because of diplomatic decisions that transformed its negotiation into a secret. However diplomatic success can be annulled by technical and economic problems.
The ecological aspect is a very important one. It is undeniable that the risk of accidents on reactors is greater than was believed, based on the Rasmunsen Report. The Three Mile Island accident has shown how important the question of reactor safety can be. The storage of radioactive wastes, on the other hand, stands without a final solution. These safety problems tend to be worse in less developed countries, because of three basic points:
a. the necessity of adapting nuclear standards and requirements from other countries, sometimes from more than one country, as is the case of Brazil, which has bought reactors from both the USA and the Federal Republic of Germany;
b. the weakness of the national licensing authorities, that not only have small budgets but also do not have the necessary independence and authority to fulfill some of their intended functions;
c. the lack of well-established public-opinion groups would could force the government into giving more attention to safety-related matters.
A severe comment on the solution adopted by the government involves the fact that the West German nuclear technology has been bought at a very high price, while there are enough hydroelectric resources and coal in the country to last for some decades. Denied the alleged hypothesis of nuclear energy urgency, there would be the possibility of developing in the country a more autonomous and modest nuclear project. Besides a greater control of the technology, this project could better adapt itself to Brazilian conditions. Also, it would make better use of internal resources, especially the scientific community almost completely forgotten in the West German treaty. Also, the national industry has limitations in the nuclear programme because of the specifications of the West German designs, which fatally require the importation of equipment from that country. Even if this equipment comes to be partially made in Brazil, it will be made by foreign companies or In joint venture with them. This will intensify the dependence of the electrical-generating-equipment industry, which is already dominated by the multi-national companies, despite the fact that the technology has been well known to Brazil for decades. The nuclear industry involves the most advanced, sophisticated technology and demands intensive capital. The importation of equipment for nuclear plants will aggravate the external debt, and the local fabrication of the equipment will have difficulties.
The economic reality of the country will cause the nuclear programme to be adjusted and decelerated, as is already happening.
III. Nuclear energy and the prestige of national power
To the economic arguments that led to the nuclear accord, we can add other speculative arguments of geo-political origin. Since India's explosion of the atomic bomb in 1974, all countries comparable in size to Brazil have the atomic bomb (the USA, the USSR, China, and India) or the technology to make it (Canada), besides other world powers that are smaller in territory (England and France).
Moreover, Argentina has chosen a technological line that has made her more independent in the nuclear field, possessing even the plutonium produced in the natural uranium reactor and stored in the burned fuel.
On the other hand, Brazil, even with the Angra I reactor, will not have unconditional possession of the plutonium from the burned fuel, that being subjected to stricter safeguards.
Plutonium is the material for the bomb, and the country which has it, using the technology that is already satisfactorily known, will be able to make nuclear weapons, although in a precarious way and with very limited or no military application.
The prestige of national power arising from the existence of nuclear installations in a country is undeniable, however remote is its intention of making nuclear weapons.
Brazil will have those means only if it has the full nuclear fuel cycle. As long as the enriched uranium must be imported, the spent fuel will be under severe safeguard.
From this point of view, the country must have both enrichment and reprocessing plants.
The USA is against this. It is still trying to avoid the sale of a reprocessing plant to Brazil, although it is not possible to cancel the immediate aspects of the Brazilian-German treaty. The North Americans know that it is an accord with multiple stages. Their government hopes that it will be possible to establish alternatives, such as a kind of accord that will conform voluntarily to an international co-operation system. They know that the first stage of the treaty will have to be executed.
In case the other stages of the accord are not executed, Brazil may find herself in the position of having bought the reactors and afterwards not having the guarantee of fuel supply. Without such guarantee we will be dependent upon negotiations as arduous as the one we have undergone with "Urenco." The decisive point is not the reprocessing but the fuel enrichment, and there will still be some time to wait until we know if it works. During this time we are building the reactors.
If the project fails, we will not have the prestige of national power like the other countries which have nuclear technology, and we will have the concrete onus of relying upon an imported fuel, enriched uranium, which may become more critical than oil, for a substantial part of our electric energy generation.
IV. The possibility of latin american nuclear co-operation
In Latin America it would be more reasonable if some countries at a comparable industrial and economical stage, such as Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, and Mexico, united themselves to develop a nuclear programme, progressively including other countries as soon as they need this kind of energy.
A similar proposal of Latin American co-operation was recently made in a report of a study group formed by scientists of several countries, including European and North American, in the "Interciencia" symposium held in 1978. On the practical level, such a proposal will face the difficulties caused by the fact that the more advanced South American countries in the nuclear field - Argentina and Brazil - have adopted different technological lines. Brazil will use enriched uranium, and Argentina uses natural uranium. On the other hand, continental cooperation would bring the enormous advantage of eliminating the possibility of a senseless nuclear race with military implications. Moreover, this co-operation would permit a rational internationalization, at the South American level, of some steps of the nuclear industry, particularly the fuel cycle.
This attitude will also reinforce the Brazilian position of incorporating and dominating the fuel cycle, a point vigorously contested by the United States. The accord with West Germany is yet far from being irreversible, at least as far as the enrichment and reprocessing plants are concerned. It could be reversed, independently of Brazil, because of agreements between the United States and West Germany. Because it will take a long time before the technology can be effectively incorporated, the possibility that this incorporation may not take place is not unthinkable.
The United States, on the other hand, has proposed the internationalization of the nuclear fuel cycle to avoid the proliferation of such technology and the dissemination of plutonium. This internationalization, under the hegemony of the countries already possessing nuclear technology, lacks trustworthiness because of the historical tradition of political and economical domination implicit in technological and industrial dependence. However, internationalization at a Latin American level could be feasible and could overcome the objections currently made by the North Americans in relation to the fuel cycle. It would also make valuable joint efforts possible, giving an adequate position to nuclear enterprises and strengthening the Latin American block in negotiations with the proprietors of the nuclear technology.
V. The position of brazil regarding nuclear proliferation
Brazil did not sign the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1968, alleging that it intended to legitimate an unacceptable distribution of power, requiring the control of the pacific use of nuclear energy without imposing any obstacle to the growth of nuclear weapons among the world military powers.
On the other hand, Brazil signed the Treaty of Tlatelolco, which forbids the production or possession of nuclear weapons and the storage of nuclear weapons belonging to military nuclear countries in the territory of countries signatory to the treaty.
The official Brazilian position on to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty has been endorsed even by some intransigent critics of the nuclear accord at the domestic level, and it is necessary to distinguish these domestic critics from the foreign pressures against the Brazilian nuclear programme.
This distinction of positions is essential not only for a correct understanding of the nuclear problem, but also for any realistic reformulation; from anyone who wishes to give further consideration to the Brazilian nuclear policy.
The objective of the scientists is for the country to follow an energy policy suitable to its real means and leading to greater autonomy. The aim of the international pressures from the London Club is to limit the autonomy of the less developed countries, such as Brazil. This is based on the hypothesis that the political irresponsibility of these countries with respect to international security will lead to a nuclear war, if they happen to dominate nuclear technology.
The foundation of this proposition is that the responsibility of the world military nuclear powers is enough to guarantee that a nuclear war does not occur. The historical tradition of some of these world powers, responsible for the worst wars and devastation the world has suffered, gives examples which deny the truth of this assertion.
The matter is not to defend the nuclear militarization of Latin America, but to put the international question under its true dimension: the question of the nuclear disarmament of the world powers. The right position, from our point of view, is to repudiate the military use of the nuclear technology in all countries of the world, while making clear that the great threat to the security of mankind is from the nuclear arms arsenal of the military world powers.
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